Arbor Oso Foundation Review – My Favorite Bulky Cruiser

4.5 rating

Arbor Oso Foundation side view

Well, just look at that! Rad cruiser right? I’m currently in the habit of buying and testing cruisers and I asked around a bit what people consider great cruiser boards. Someone mentioned the Arbor Oso Foundation and without thinking I bought one. I can tell you right of the bat that this is currently my favorite cruiser.

The first time I stepped the Arbor Oso Foundation I fell in love, I gave it a gentle push and it brought a smile to my face. This is the cruiser I’ve been waiting for. So let’s review the Arbor Oso Foundation to see if this is a board for you. As always, my reviews are fair. I buy all the stuff I review and don’t get anything for free. I’ll try to make this as unbiased as possible.

Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pros

  • Ultimate stability
  • Quick acceleration and fast!
  • Remains stable at high speeds
  • Can be used to ride pools/bowls
  • Both beginners and experienced riders will appreciate this board

Cons

  • Rather heavy
  • Wheels are a bad compromise between park riding and cruising
  • Can feel a bit sluggish when turning (loosen the trucks!)
  • Wheels suck on rough terrain but the updated version has better wheels!

First impressions

Arbor Oso Foundation bottom view

I usually take a couple of quality photos before I even ride a new board but after 4 weeks of rain, it finally stopped. I immediately went out to ride this thing and was impressed by its speed and agility. More about that later, first let’s see what this board offers from just looking and touching it.

It’s big and heavy, that’s the first thing I noticed. Way bigger than any of my other cruisers and it looks great. I love how the top of the deck looks, the wooden patterns and the fine transparent grit grip.

The trucks are wide which means it must be a very stable board and great for beginners. It also doesn’t feel loose when I step on it.

The wheels are impressive, I love the amber color but they seem a bit small compared to my other cruisers. When riding this board this didn’t bother me at all.

Specifications

Let’s go through all the parts one at a time. We’ll be looking at the deck, trucks, wheels, and bearings but first the specifications.

  • Length: 31.5″
  • Width: 9.5″
  • 169mm wide Paris trucks
  • Wheelbase: 14.5″
  • Arbor Abec 5 bearings and spacers
  • 1/8″ riser pads
  • Concave: Radial – Depth: Medium
  • Griptape: Clear, Spray-On
  • Flex Level: Stiff
  • Wheels: 80A – 58mm 
  • 7 Ply Maple | Premium Wood Topsheet
Arbor Oso Foundation
Arbor Skateboard - OSO Foundation
Arbor Oso Collective
Arbor Collective- OSO Artist
Arbor Skateboard - OSO Foundation
Arbor Collective- OSO Artist
Price not available
Price not available
Arbor Oso Foundation
Arbor Skateboard - OSO Foundation
Arbor Skateboard - OSO Foundation
Price not available
Arbor Oso Collective
Arbor Collective- OSO Artist
Arbor Collective- OSO Artist
Price not available

Deck

Arbor Oso Foundation top view

The first thing you notice is how wide the deck is. Compared to my other cruisers this board is huge! It really has that Oldschool vibe to it and should also provide a very stable ride in pools. The size of the Oso Foundation makes it a bit heavier, but you don’t notice this when cruising.

Another benefit is that it offers a lot of room to move and place your feet. It’s ridiculously stable and placing your feet on the wrong part of the board doesn’t matter much. You have plenty of time to correct your stance and you’ll find that it’s surprisingly forgiving.

I needed some time to find the proper stance and learned that I like to place my feet near the front bolts and my back foot close to the tail. In a more aggressive stance, I like to place my back foot on the tail, often when I encounter gravel, cracks, or a patch of grass. 

Huge Kicktail

Arbor Oso Foundation Kicktail

Holy Kicktail Batman, this thing is huge! It’s almost like an old school deck but with a steeper tail. I was a bit skeptical at first but it’s great to set your foot there if you want to take a more aggressive stance. I don’t like the square shape to be honest but it’s because I’m used to popsicles that have a more rounded shape. Totally biased and I’m already over it.

Wheels – Arbor Shakedown 58mm/80A

Arbor Oso Foundation wheel

These wheels are fun to look at, my son said he thinks they look like amber and he nailed it. The transparent amber color is rather fascinating and you can see the bearings and spacers, pretty cool if you ask me. I’m not really used to transport wheels but I love it.

They are 58mm and a bit harder than my other cruiser wheels which made me wonder how they hold up if you run into gravel or crack. After riding it for a bit they seem to deal with rough surfaces just fine for a short time. If you ride rough roads for an extended period, you really need to push hard.

I think the wheels are a bit of a compromise between cruising wheels and skating pools and parks what this board is designed for. The fact that they are harder (80A) and smaller (58mm) than the average cruiser wheel makes them great for riding pools. They perform really well on smooth asphalt and pavements, just not on rough surfaces like in the video.

They really suck at rough roads, I need to push like an idiot to maintain momentum but to be fair, no wheel can deal with the conditions I tested this board. Still, on rougher asphalt they don’t hold up. I swapped the wheels fo OJ’s and they did a far better job.

It’s probably a bit unfair because this board wasn’t meant for long-distance cruising. It’s made for fun and short rides, and dropping in on your occasional pool. 

I believe this should have been a dedicated cruiser with the right wheels that can actually handle gnarly roads. These wheels will do fine when riding your local bowl but they have a hard time dealing with rough terrain.

Don’t get me wrong, they perform excellent on smooth asphalt but if you come across rough patches you will notice they can’t handle it. Check the video at the bottom of this page to see what I mean.

Set of 4 Arbor Shakedown wheels

I would still prefer to skate my regular pool deck, but the Arbor Oso will hold up fine in your local bowl. At least if you stay away from the technical stuff.

Wide Trucks – Paris 169mm

Arbor Oso foundation trucks

Huge, wide trucks  (169mm) that don’t go unnoticed. Paris Trucks are awesome, so much better than what you get on other completes! I love how bulky they look but with that sweet looking engraved Paris trucks logo. They are bulky but still manage to respond well to minor corrections.

I am impressed with the aggressive angle they can take on without becoming unstable. You can lean your whole body and they will just carry you (the width of the deck also helps). This is also beneficial when going downhill, I didn’t experience any speed wobbles but I haven’t tested this to the max.

Bushings

The bushings are rather hard and I’m planning on replacing them. I tried to loosen the trucks to make sharper turns but they can’t go any looser. Maybe I need to ride it a bit more to really brake in the bushings so I can make this board turn faster. I’ll update this post as soon as I can.

Bearings

Arbor bearings

Usually, bearings from completes aren’t great, but these bearings are an exception. I don’t know where Arbor gets them but they are super quiet and super fast, at least for now. I recently tested another board which was kind of underwhelming, but these bearings are great.

I tested this board with Bones Swiss 6 bearings and OJ Super Juive wheels and it made a huge difference though, but perhaps that’s a bit of an unfair comparison. It will take more time to draw a conclusion but from what I can tell so far, the bearings are pretty okay for a complete setup.

Design

Arbor Oso Foundation bottom view design

I love the graphics. I like simple stuff that has a bit of that old school feeling but also modern. The Arbor Oso Foundation comes in a single design. I usually don’t like it when green and blue are combined, but they pulled it off. It’s just a matter of taste (or the lack of it) but I really love that the designer was able to create a timeless graphic, kudos!

Taking It for a Test Ride

It felt right from the moment I stepped on the board and pushed my foot to get some speed. This board is incredibly stable and can still turn pretty quickly. It’s quite a difference when I compare it to my Landyachtz Dinghy.

I do have to note that you need to loosen the trucks, they are very tight which makes the board Oso Foundation less responsive. With some minor tweaks, this board could be the ultimate cruiser.

Somehow the wheels look smaller and harder (61mm / 78A) than specified but this probably has to do with them being transparent.  Even though the wheels are smaller (61mm) and a bit harder compared to my other cruiser than on my other cruisers, they go pretty fast.

So I guess you get great quality wheels and great bearings, this board keeps its speed for a long time and doesn’t require you to push all the time. However, if you encounter rough roads the wheels won’t be very forgiving. You really need to push hard to keep up to speed though I probably picked a spot with the worst tiles ever (over 30 years old).

Anyway, you can see it the video below around 0.44, that was just the worst. I wanted to pick up my board and walk because the wheels couldn’t handle it. 

The bearings are pretty silent and the wheels do well on roughish terrain (except for the real rough stuff). I had no issues riding over cracks and damaged asphalt, just make sure you don’t lean forward but that goes for any cruiser. 

When Not to Buy

I just can’t see anything wrong with this board. It’s beginner-friendly, great for heavy and tall riders and even kids will have a blast riding this board. It’s even pretty stable downhill though for bombing the hills I’d suggest getting a downhill board.

It’s a bit heavy though but not in a way that you can’t carry it around. Sure it won’t fit in your backpack and you won’t be able to do kickflips but that’s not the purpose of this board. 

I guess the only reason not to buy this board is when you want a nimble, flexible, responsive board, or when it’s a bit over your budget. There is literally not a negative thing to say, and I’m usually a bit of a critic. I admit, it’s a bit bulky and on the heavy side, but that only makes it more stable. 

The wheels are smaller than my other cruisers which makes it harder to ride over bigger cracks. The wide trucks and board make up for that fortunately so again nothing to complain about.

If you want to dance on this board or like flexible cruisers, this is not your board.

So don’t buy this board when:

  • You want to do flip tricks or dance
  • You are looking for a flexy board

Check out other mini cruisers I tested and reviewed if you are in doubt.

When to Buy

In my opinion, this board hits the sweet spot. Perfect for beginners and great for experienced riders. I do have to mention that beginners really should ride the trucks loose. You probably won’t able to lift the board using the tail to correct its direction quickly.

Other than that this board allows you to carve and pump, is ridiculously stable, ignores gravel and has no issues with cracks. Oh, and it just looks rad. It’s not very flexible but there aren’t many mini cruisers that have flex. 

I think this board is also great for older skaters that want to ride again, cruising around hopping a few curbs and not doing anything really technical. The fact that this thing can ride bowls makes it even more appealing.

Go for it when:

  • You want a quality cruiser that can also be used to ride parks and bowls
  • Want something stable
  • Need something portable and versatile
  • You are willing to swap the wheels for something better if you just want to cruise (The Oj Super Juice wheels are really worth it).

Upgrading Wheels and Bearings

Since I have a lot of stuff lying around I wanted to see how this board rides when slapping some OJ super Juice Wheels on them and replacing the bearing with Bones Super Swiss 6. Oh my, this is even better! If you even think about replacing the wheels, consider OJ Super Juice (78A, 60mm).

You can have the ultimate cruiser which if you swap the wheels and perhaps the bearings. The standard bearings and wheels are okay but you can make this the best old school cruiser if you swap the wheels.

Conclusion

The Arbor Oso Foundation is my current favorite cruiser. It doesn’t have many flaws, comes with great quality components and can be used straight out of the box. Great wheels, really stable board and the bearings hold up fine. 

This is a great cruiser for both beginners and experienced riders and it can even handle bowls. The design and Oldschool feel really make this board something special and I like it so much that my Dinghy is currently collecting dust. If this board is a bit too bulky and you want something smaller, don’t forget to check out the Arbor Pilsner (Amazon).

 

Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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